The International Jury for the Volvo Ocean Race has dismissed a charge of misconduct under Rule 69 of the Racing Rules of Sailing against David Witt and Steve Hayles following a complaint to World Sailing.
In its decision, the International Jury wrote: “David Witt and Steve Hayles did not commit misconduct because the video has not caused widespread offence worldwide and has not brought the sport into disrepute.”
Richard Brisius, the President of the Volvo Ocean Race, said: “As race organisers we would like to thank the International Jury for its time and thoughtful handling of this case.”
The complaint, put forward by an outside party not associated with the race, focused on content contained in a video produced from on board Scallywag during Leg 2 of the race.
“I’ve seen the video and I think it’s unfortunate that this resulted in a hearing,” said Dee Caffari, the skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic. “This case has shown all of us, I think, that the banter and jokes that are an essential part of life on board, don’t always travel well off the water. But to have singled out these guys for a charge when it’s clear that nobody on their boat felt offended in any way seems misguided to me.”
Jordi Neves, Chief Digital Officer of the Volvo Ocean Race added: “As event organisers we are constantly undertaking a review of our and the teams content workflow. We are providing updated guidelines to our communications team, including the on board reporters.
“Our focus now is to evolve and respond in a responsible manner, as we continue our authentic storytelling of the race as the sailors take on the ultimate test of a team in professional sport.”
The teams next take to the water on Friday 8 December at 2pm local time in Cape Town for the In-Port Race, before the start of Leg 3, from Cape Town to Melbourne, Australia on Sunday 10 December.
Before the incident was adjudicated Steve Hayles, the navigator aboard SHK Scallywag, announced that he would be leaving the boat in Cape Town and has been replaced by Antonio Fontes. SHK Scallywag will race with her usual crew of eight – seven males and one female crew member – for the next leg through the Southern Ocean to Melbourne.
by Volvo Ocean race